When combined, these two features allow users to operate their tablet like a laptop. The Surface tablet can go from hand to surface in a matter of seconds, giving users a wider range of uses in one device. In a sense, it combines some of the most attractive design features from the iPad and Macbook Air in one fell swoop. That’s not even to mention that you can choose different colors for your keyboard, on which keys are operated by touch (no pressure needed). The keyboard also doubles as a dust cover and can be folded over to cover the screen when not in use.
If Apple had launched this product, the entire tech market would be swooning, but Microsoft is seriously lagging in terms of mass market operating software and, to be frank, it just lacks sex appeal. The release of the product will parallel the Windows 8 launch later this year (a beta is already available), but the aesthetic design of Windows software is dusty, dusty, dusty. The touch screen, though innovative, offers a mish-mash of colored squares and rectangles that will make any lover of iOS cringe.
While the Apple has curved edges, Microsoft is hanging onto its squares; and though there is something to be said about branding, Microsoft is going to be forced to think outside the box in its creative marketing strategies if they are truly hoping to compete with the iPad.
The Surface tablet reportedly won’t be offering a mobile phone network connection, which is a huge disadvantage when competing with other tablets on the market. (What good is portability if you can’t use your device everywhere?) College students who use iPads as studying tools would have been a perfect target audience for Microsoft, as the tablet offers Office products, but without a mobile phone network, Apple will maintain its stronghold on the younger generation.
Though there has been mention that a mobile network connection could be implemented in the future, I think Microsoft is being naïve if they think they will get another shot at this. This decision could prove to be the Achilles heel of the entire project, and the fact that they decided to omit such a key feature makes me wonder if they even understand the market they’re trying to enter.
Another possible solution is that Microsoft isn’t really trying to compete with the iPad. Though the tablet is a response to the iPad trend, the key omission of mobile network connectivity reeks of planned obsolescence. To leave such a gaping hole for other developers to advance upon is a baited hook that could potentially result in more tablets that use Windows 8, which is a golden opportunity for Microsoft. More Window 8 users will mean more money for the company, and because they won’t be developing the products, they won’t be carrying the risk.
Microsoft holds two niches in the tech market that Apple has yet to corner: the corporate and home entertainment sectors. There is no question that Apple is the king of consumer electronics, but Microsoft’s software and databases are firmly rooted in the corporate world. The Microsoft Surface tablet Pro version will feature the full Windows 8 capabilities. This means the tablet will be naturally integrated into the existing corporate settings, and will allow traveling or remote workers to dock and access documents and spreadsheets. This compatibility is a huge asset.
The Xbox is more than a gaming system. Today, it’s a major streaming platform for multi-media. The Microsoft Surface tablet will also be compatible with Xbox gaming systems, which is where that USB port comes in handy (for the controller). This makes the Microsoft Surface tablet a portable tablet, computer and gaming system – all in one.
We should never forget that Microsoft is largely a software company, and even with the hype surrounding its new baby, some have expressed doubt that Microsoft is committed to long-term production of tablets. The Microsoft Surface tablet is not competitor for the iPad, but the tablet is definitely a selling point for the things Microsoft already does best, and other developers will be forced to respond to this new tech standard in business, gaming and portability.
If all goes as planned and other companies jump on board, Microsoft Windows 8 will make mad cash, which I’m sure is the real plan all along.
Guest article written by: Mariana Ashley is a blogger and freelance writer, whose posts offer a college guide and news for prospective students and parents. She welcomes comments via email at email@example.com.